Where did Pickleball come from?
Unless you’re living in a cave without internet or TV reception, you’ve probably heard of pickleball. Afterall, everyone and their mother, is playing (or learning to play) pickleball! And yes, it’s new(ish) – Well the “craze” for pickleball is new. In fact, between 2019 and 2022, pickleball has grown 40% making it the fastest growing sport in America. 4.8 million Americans have become “picklers.”
Pickleball really began in the 60’s when two dads decided to “invent” something to entertain their families. I think we can safely say the pandemic helped make pickleball popular – when people were looking for something to cure the boredom, get them off the sofa and do something fun that still allowed “social distancing.” Pickleball could be played without a lot of investment and without having a high skill level.
What is Pickleball?
Good question! Most people have either taken up the sport or know someone who has. For those of us just catching up, Pickleball is a hybrid combination of ping-pong, tennis, and badminton. It appeals to both older and younger age groups because you don’t need to be a born athlete to take up the plastic paddle-type racket. Most racket sports have a steep learning curve and require a certain level of athleticism. Pickleball uses a plastic whiffle-like ball that is slower (than a tennis ball or racquetball) making it less bouncy and less likely to make you run all over a court, missing said ball. The courts for pickleball are much smaller than a tennis court and most players play with a partner (doubles.)
For the observer, Pickleball looks more like a rowdy game of bocce ball or cornhole. Good-natured arguing and yelling matches–with a beer in one hand (White Claw for the younger set) and a paddle in the other–are encouraged. 80-year-olds can play right along with 20-year-olds and it’s all great fun, while still allowing for a bit of a workout.